Italian unification is also called the Italian revolution. It refers to social and political movement that led to agglomeration of different states in the Italian peninsula to form a single states or the Kingdom of Italy in 19th century. There is no agreement on the exact dates of when the unification started and when it ended. However, several scholars agree that this process started in 1815 when the Napoleonic rule ended and it was initiated by Congress of Vienna.
The unification of Italy ended at around 1871 with the establishment of Rome as the capital of Kingdom of Italy. However, some terre irredente did not join this Kingdom until later after the First World War with Treaty of Saint-Germaine. According to some nationalists, 3rd November 1918 was the end of Italian unification.
For many years before the Italian Unification, Italian peninsula remained as a fragmentation of states. This was also the case for the United States before it announced its being independent from the Great Britain. The Italian peninsula was invaded by the French when a war broke between revolutionary French Government and Austria. Most Italian states were consolidated and they were established as republics. French was pushed out of these Italian peninsular in 1799 by the Russian and Austrian Armies. This led to the death of fledging republics.
The French conquered the Italian peninsula once again after Napoleon rose to power. The Napoleon leadership divided the Italian peninsula into three main entities. These were the Northern parts annexed to French Empire, the New Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Naples. Joseph Bonaparte who was the brother of Napoleon ruled the Kingdom of Naples at first.
After years of occupation of the Italian peninsula by the France, the territory was redistributed by congress of Vienna after Napoleon downfall of 1814. Although the Italian peninsula was fragmented until the mid 1800s, the United Ital concept was slowly taking root with secret societies being formed to oppose conservative regimes. These societies also promoted nationalism in Italy. Nationalists’ sentiments were ignited by the revolutions in 1848. Uprising occurred in different cities in Italian peninsula but in 1849, these uprisings were defeated by the old regimes.
Nevertheless, the Kingdome of Piedmont-Sardinia pushed for the final Italian unification in 1859. The agent that began physical process of unifying the Italian peninsula was the Franco-Austrian war in 1859. Piedmontese and France defeated the Austrians after which the elections were held and the process towards Italian Unification started officially.
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